London Marathon volunteer Marcel Bancroft pays tribute to Susie Jones, the event’s former physiotherapy lead, and to her other colleagues at the annual event.
I attended the London Marathon for 10 years, helping to organise the physio area at the finish. For volunteers, it’s quite a spectacular event: part glamour and part hard graft. There’s something magical about swanning round with a ‘go anywhere’ pass round your neck!
My involvement started when a dog-walking friend, Susie Jones (pictured above), was appointed head of physiotherapy at the finish area of the London Marathon. Computing was not Susie’s metier, and after I helped with this aspect of her work for a couple of years, Susie invited me to help on the day and, 10 years on, I was still there.
The day is always long and busy. The physios are amazing and, although there is a lot of waiting around, when the runners arrive it can be frantic and exciting. One physio said to me this year that they had never been so pumped: it was all about making on-the-spot decisions with no lead in – fast, furious and exhilarating. I was there as a kind of back up team.
All the medical tents are run by St John Ambulance. Most treatments are done on stretcher-type cots or chairs. Two medical tents are equipped with intensive care units. It is a jaw- dropping set up: a kind of field hospital.
The runners are so brave. They have just run 26-plus miles and raised thousands of pounds in sponsorship. For the first nine years I volunteered we received similar medals to the runners (ours were grey rather than gold coloured). In 2016 we received lapel pins.
When Susie fell ill and resigned before this year’s event, Rory Brown took over. I carried on to create a smooth transition. Sadly, Susie passed away in March, and I decided to stop. I enjoyed every moment and will miss all the physios. I have made some very good friends.
Find out more
For information on volunteering as a physio, email Rory Brown.
- Marcel Bancroft was a London Marathon volunteer
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